It wasn’t too long ago where there were circulated rumors that Stan Van Gundy would appear with ESPN on their NBA coverage, but that would fall through. SVG would be his lovely blunt self and claim it was the NBA who intercepted his ESPN gig, and now his brother — Jeff Van Gundy confirms this as well via USA Today:
Jeff, who hadn’t previously spoken publicly on the issue until an interview with USA TODAY Sports, says his brother “had a basic agreement” to become an ESPN/ABC analyst in the marquee studio shows that wrap around game coverage: “And then something changed. There’s certainly circumstantial evidence that something from the outside — presumably the NBA — changed (ESPN’s) thinking. … I was happy when they came to an agreement and shocked when they pulled their offer.”
Jeff’s big picture: “This is an organization that’s treated me great. But this raises interesting questions about what a (league-network) partnership means. You have to realize, as a fan, you’re not getting the whole truth. … It seems like there are certain people in each sport that (TV) can’t criticize, or you can’t criticize the league itself. That’s what impressed me when (ESPN’s) Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden criticized the NFL over replacement refs. That (Commissioner) Roger Goodell didn’t throw a hissy fit at ESPN was impressive.”
JVG raises a fair point in relation to the partnership of two independent entities; ESPN retain it’s independence in employment choices without David Stern and the league throwing a hissy fit?
The answer seems obvious.